Michael Carrick relishing Real Madrid midfield battle

Michael Carrick
© PA Photos
Michael Carrick believes that his midfield battle with Xabi Alonso will be key when Manchester United face Real Madrid in the Champions League tomorrow night.

Michael Carrick has insisted that the midfield battle will be key tomorrow night when Manchester United face Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

United travel to Spain for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, with most of the headlines revolving around Cristiano Ronaldo facing his old club for the first time since leaving in 2009.

Carrick believes that while stopping Ronaldo will be crucial, he must play his part by dictating a midfield battle full of international stars.

He told Sky Sports News: "The headlines will all focus on Cristiano but Real Madrid have real strength in depth.

"They did not win La Liga for nothing last season. I am looking forward to playing against Xabi Alonso and Mesut Ozil, who are both world-class players.

"We respect the players and history of the club but we are approaching both legs with a squad full of confidence. From a personal point of view, you always want to play against the best teams in the best stadiums and Real Madrid and the Bernabeu certainly fall into that bracket."

The 31-year-old won the Champions League with United in 2008 and has made it to the final on two more occasions.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates a goal against Celta Vigo on January 9, 2013
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